Detention centre escapee sentenced to six months in prison

Detention centre escapee sentenced to six months in prison

Haitian man says he escaped because he got scared “I may be lost”

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A 31-year-old Haitian man who escaped from the Carmichael Road Detention Center last month was charged in a Magistrate’s Court and sentenced to six months in prison, after which he is expected to be deported to Haiti.

Jack Gerlin, of Lexington Avenue, was arraigned before Assistant Chief Magistrate Subusola Swain on one count of escape from lawful custody.

He pleaded guilty to the charge.

Jack Gerlin

Prosecutors alleged that on October 23, while being held at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre, Gerlin escaped from the facility.

Around 5pm, Director of Immigration Clarence Russel contacted the Carmichael Road Police Station to advise of the escape and a search ensued.

On October 28, a team of police and immigration officers executed a search warrant of a home in Pinewood where they discovered Gerlin hiding in the upstairs apartment.

Two men and two women were also arrested in the process.

Gerlin told the court that he came to The Bahamas between the age of nine and 12-years-old on a boat.

He told the judge he attended both CR Walker and CC Sweeting previously, but he stopped going to school in grade 10 after he was kicked out for fighting.

When asked whether he ever had any documentation, Gerlin said he did, but claimed they were damaged during Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

Swain said after speaking with the Department of Immigration it was determined that Gerlin is not a documented person.

Gerlin was arrested and served time in prison following an incident with the mother of his two children.

He was sent to the detention centre after serving his time.

When asked why he escaped from the facility, Gerlin told the court, “I got scared”.

He said he decided to escape before anything happened to him and he could not see his kids again.

“I may be lost…I wanted to spend time with my kids again,” he told the court.

Swain noted that because he was undocumented, he would be sentenced to six months in prison and then sent back to the Carmichael Road Detention Centre.

She noted after that he will be repatriated to Haiti.

Rosita Gerlin, 62, Junia Gerlin, 39, Jevawn Cardoza, 28 and Leroy Davis, 33, of Parkgate Road were also arraigned before Swain on one count of harbouring a criminal.

Prosecutors allege that on October 23, the group, knowing that Gerlin had escaped from custody, did aid in the concealment of him with the purpose of enabling him to avoid lawful arrest.

Both Cardoza and Davis pled guilty to the charges.

Cardoza, a Jamaican with a work permit, said Gerlin ran upstairs when the police came, and Davis, a Bahamian, was simply a visitor at Cardoza’s home.

The pair were remanded to the Bahamas Department of Corrections.

They are expected to return to court on December 4.

Rosita and Junia pleaded guilty to the harbouring charge.

The pair’s attorney advised the court that Rosita, Gerlin’s mother, suffered from hypertension and diabetes and was vulnerable to the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, Junia has four children, ages five, 10, 12 and 18.

The court heard the eldest child has hydrocephalus, spina bifida, mild cerebral palsy, and Dandy-Walker syndrome, a congenital brain malformation.

Junia told the court that she is in care of all her children and none of the fathers are in their lives.

Swain also questioned the 62-year-old on when Gerlin was brought to The Bahamas and who brought him.

Rosita said he was brought at the age of nine.

But she said she did not send for him and did not know who paid for him to come on the boat. 

Swain insisted the woman was being untruthful. She said: “You’re a liar, shut up. You’re lying.”

Counsel for the women pleaded with the judge to consider their personal issues and the fact that they didn’t waste the court’s time.

They were fined $500 or three months in prison, with their convictions on record.